When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went into the offseason, they knew that they had to find a running back who could carry, and catch the load for the team. While LeGarrette Blount had over 1,000 yards rushing in 2010, he was keyed on in 2011, and proved that he’s really more of a compliment, than a lead guy.
To make sure the Buccaneers got one of the two highly touted backs, they traded back into the first round to select Boise State running back Doug Martin. Martin was the consensus number two back to Trent Richardson.
Early in training camp, Martin demonstrated his explosiveness and grabbed on to the offense early enough to be given the starting nod going into week one.
The start of his NFL career was decent, with a couple of nice receptions and a rushing touchdown, but the lanes just weren’t there for him to run. In the first three games he struggled to get on the perimeter, and while he had some nice runs, his yards-per-carry were destroyed by runs that got nothing.
Since the bye week, however, Martin has looked like a new player. He appears to be faster and is hitting the hole quicker which has resulted in back-to-back games with well over five-yards per carry.
A lot can be credited to the play of Josh Freeman too. His passing over the last ten quarters has really opened up running lanes, and Martin is finding them well. In addition to running well, he’s been a weapon out of the back field with close to 100 yards through the air in the past two games.
At this point, Martin has eclipsed slightly over 400 yards on the season. All he has to do is rush for just over 60 yards a game to break the 1,000 yard mark, but if his recent play is any indication, he should be well over that by the end of the year.